Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ludlow and Chester, England - 1000 Places to See Before You Die

Years ago I bought this "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" book. It has become a travel-bible of sorts for us. Within the pages you can find restaurants, hotels, cities, and monuments. A little bit of everything and a terrific peppering of cultural highlights all over the world. This book's suggestions helped give framework and structure to much of our European trip planning - and we were rarely disappointed with the finds, be they obvious or more off-the beaten-path. Kirk, my auditor through and through, kept our running checklist and we can now boast having seen 238 of the 1,000! What a tremendous blessing of worldly travel. The introductory page cites an anonymous quote reading, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away." Indeed.

In England we visited two of the 1,000 Place cities: Ludlow and Chester. Both were charming with their prominent Tudor homes.

Ludlow is known as the "loveliest town in England" I am not sure we would go that far, but it was a charming spot for Easter lunch, an inspiring cathedral, and an adorable townish feel.I loved this random stick-ey-out window pane. How fun! And how British!The "Old Feathers House" was visually stunning in age and complexity. It was the kind of place that made you doubletake midstep.The town cathedral was all decked out in its Easter best. It made me feel both close and far away from home to see the lillies and the flowered cross. We were definitely starting to get pretty homesick by this point. We spoke to both families on Easter Sunday and lamented not being able to be together.
Connor's candle was lit with an accompanying prayer and blessing.I thought this altarpiece was especially awesome with the crucifix front and center. Went with the Easter theme well.As "lovely" as Ludlow was, we much preferred Chester. Same general design, but a more lively and energetic feel to this town. Chester is described in the 1000 Places book as having "one of England's best collection of black-and-white magpie buildings, some facades a riot of striped patterns."I could have probably spent all day looking at these beautiful old buildings and strolling around. Chester proved to be a shopping mecca.
Chester's cathedral was a good one. I love the red sandstone.
And inside was expectedly grand, but still seemed a real church with an active, warm congregation - which is a change from most European churches.
Outside was a little elephant. Connor just had to perch atop for a Chester photo op.
We are admittedly 1000 Place addicts and are fueled by seeing all we can. Not the type of travel for everyone, but isn't it nice that we three match in our chaotic see-it-all-as-fast-as-you-can pace?!?

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